STI Testing and Treatment

The caring staff at Famcare can talk with you about STIs and help you get any testing or treatment you may need.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (also known as sexually transmitted diseases- STDs) are viral or bacterial infections that are spread from one person to another during sexual or intimate contact. Depending on the infection, it can be spread through any type of sexual activity. 

More than half of the population will get a sexually transmitted infection at some point in their lives. Sexually transmitted infections may or may not cause symptoms, so it’s possible you could have an infection or spread an infection without even knowing it.

If you feel you may be at risk for an STI, getting tested can help you get the treatments you may need — and we’re here to answer your questions. 

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the United States. Millions of men and women are infected each year through vaginal, anal or oral sex. Most people with Chlamydia do not have any symptoms which is why all women under 25 years old and women over 25 years with risk factors need to be tested each year. Untreated Chlamydia infections can cause problems with productive organs that make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant later on. Some symptoms for women include: vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, pelvic pain and burning when urinating (peeing). Men may have a watery discharge (drip) from the penis, swelling pain or tingling in the penis or testicles and burning or pain with urination. Chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics.

Genital Herpes is caused by two types of viruses: Herpes Simplex 1 (HSV1) and Herpes Simplex 2 (HSV2). In the US, about 1 out of every 6 people aged 14 to 49 years have genital Herpes. Most people who have Herpes do not know it because they have no, or very mild symptoms. Genital Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters around the mouth, genitals or rectum. The virus may also cause flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fever or swollen glands. You should get checked if you or your partner notices any of these symptoms. Herpes can’t be cured, but there are medicines that can decrease or prevent outbreaks and help stop the spread of the virus to your partner.

Gonorrhea is a common bacterial sexually transmitted infection that affects millions of men and women each year, especially ages 15-24 years. It can cause infections in the rectum, genitals and throat through vaginal, anal or oral sex. While some people have no symptoms, men may have a white, yellow or green discharge form the penis, a burning feeling when urinating and sometime swollen or painful testicles.

Women may have an increase in vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods or burning with urination.  Rectal infections may cause painful bowel movements or anal soreness, itching or discharge.  All women under 25 years old and women over 25 years with risk factors need to be tested each year. Gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics.

HPV is the most common STI in the US. It is a viral infection that affects men and women and can be spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex and other close skin-to-skin touching during sexual activity. The virus can spread even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. Most men and women who get HPV never develop symptoms and the infection usually goes away completely by itself. However, if it doesn’t “clear” on its own, they virus can cause genital warts and some kinds of cancers in men and women. Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or a group of bumps around the vagina, penis or anus. They may be small, large or shaped like cauliflower. The warts may go away on their own, or may require treatment by a healthcare provider. The types of HPV that cause genital warts do not cause cancer. HPV infections usually go away by themselves but having an HPV infection that does not go away can cause certain kinds of cancer to develop. HPV infection isn’t cancer but can cause changes in the body that lead to cancer. These include cervical cancer in women, penile cancer in men, and anal cancer in both women and men. HPV can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer). There is no test for HPV available for men at this time. Women over 30 are encouraged to get tested as a screening for cervical cancer. There is no approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or throat.There is a vaccine that both males and females can get to help prevent them from getting HPV.

All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years old should get vaccinated for HPV.  If they did not get vaccinated when they were younger, catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21;  females and males and females with compromised immune systems through age 26. It is also recommended for gay and bisexual men who have sex with man through age 26.

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that results from being infected with the hepatitis B virus. In the US, hepatitis B is most commonly spread through sexual contact with an infected partner. It can be a mild illness lasting a few weeks, or it can become a serious lifelong illness. Common hepatitis B symptoms include a mild fever, headache, joint pain and muscle aches. Symptoms of hepatitis B also include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain and clay-colored stools. Jaundice is also a hepatitis B symptom and results in the skin and whites of the eyes turning yellow. Many people who have Hepatitis B do not have symptoms. Medication is available to reduce the extent of damage to the liver. While there is no cure for hepatitis B, a vaccine is available to protect against it.

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. In some cases, HIV symptoms do not appear for 10 years or more. Common symptoms of HIV/AIDS include extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, as well as recurring yeast infections (in the mouth). Night sweats are also common, as are low-grade fevers. Red, brown or purplish splotches may also appear under the skin, inside the eyelids, mouth or nose. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection. Women with HIV/AIDS may also experience other STIs, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), or changes in their menstrual cycle. HIV has no cure. Antiretroviral medications are usually prescribed to reduce the amount of virus in the body, and to help a person stay healthy.

Syphilis is a bacterial STI that can be spread during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Sores caused by Syphilis can be found on the lips, mouth, penis, rectum or vagina.

You can be infected with syphilis and have no symptoms at all, or mild symptoms that look like other conditions or diseases. Because syphilis sores can be hidden in the vagina, anus, under the foreskin of the penis, or in the mouth, sometimes Syphilis is left untreated for years and can cause serious complications in your body and to your baby. In the early stage, the painless syphilis sore after the first infection can be confused with a harmless bump, zipper cut or ingrown hair. The second stage can cause a rash on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet, in just a few places on your body or all over. Syphilis can be diagnosed with a blood test and  cured with antibiotics.